For years -- literally years -- I've been writing about Astroturf organizing and that trendsetting operation in the trade, DCI -- home of that Johny Appleseed of the plastic and the green, Tom Synhorst.
Simply put, Astroturf organizers are in the business of creating phony grassroots support, or rather the appearance of grassroots support, for this or that cause.
You got the money and the cause? They'll bring the front groups, the push-polls, the oped payola, you name it.
(For more details, see this post from last year.)
The secret of 'turf is a simple one.
Advertisements and paid spokesman may influence us to some degree. We hear their opinions, see them on TV and such. But because they're paid, because they're essentially advertisements, we also tend to tune them out, or at least bracket them off in our minds.
If you're someone who wants to press an opinion, or get support for your company, what you'd really want is to have community groups coming forward to support your company line. Because if you or I see the Associated People of Podunk demanding this or that piece of legislation, then we'll probably think, 'Hey, there must be something to this.' Or if some respected scholar supports it, same thing.
For years, the trendsetter in Astroturf has been DCI. And a couple days ago, if you were watching really closely, a tiny sentence changed on an out-of-the-way page on the TechCentralStation website.
The sentence that read ...
"Tech Central Station is published by Tech Central Station, L.L.C."
now reads ...
"Tech Central Station is published by DCI Group, L.L.C."
It wasn't an accident. It was because this article -- 'Meet the Press' by Nick Confessore -- was about to be published by The Washington Monthly.